In the pantheon of foods that DC lacks sandwich shops rein supreme. The lack of delis and sub shops have had such a burdening effect that Subway, Quiznos and Potbelly are seen as the top places to get a sandwich in this city. I for one am deeply embarrassed by this and have been calling for a monumental change in the landscape.
Fortunately there is a small beacon of hope which is known simply as Taylor Gourmet. Taylor Gourmet was founded in 2008 by Casey Patten and David Mazza, long time friends and natives of Philadelphia. Noticing this void they set to work and opened shop in the up and coming Atlas District popularly known as H St. Both devoted years of research into constructing their vast menu of hoagies built with fresh ingredients and masterful flavor combinations.
Each sub is the product of countless culinary experiments. The precision behind all of their hoagies is unparalleled. From the bread that is made daily in house to the selection of cured meats and aged cheeses each sandwich is tailored (no pun intended) to meet a certain flavor combination.
I first stumbled upon their Chinatown location when it was first opening. The unique design also caught my eye. The pain bucket lights, wood panel interior and a garage door that offers an open space to the outside are truly unique to this establishment.
I approached with caution as I have been traumatized in the past with sandwich shops in this city. Within seconds I was mesmerized by their extensive menu. With so many options to choose from I was trapped in a state of panic to the extent that I froze for a few seconds.
I eventually composed myself and decided to order their JFK Boulevard which consists of a chicken cutlet which is either breaded or grilled and served with portobello mushroom and goat cheese. My friend ordered a Benjamin Franklin Parkway which consists of a chicken cutlet which is adorned with marinara sauce and sharp provolone cheese. We also split an order of their risotto balls and fried ravioli.We took our seats and watched as the cooks doled out sandwich after sandwich with ease. Once our order was finished we took our seats and started to dig in. The ingredients were fresh and blended well with each other. The breaded cutlet was juicy; the Portobello and goat cheese blended well with each other and the soft bread wrapped it all up. The risotto balls and fried ravioli were equally as good. The former had a slight bite to it which I fancy. If forced to choose which one I would prefer on a regular basis it would have to be the latter. I left feeling both satisfied by my meal and curious to explore their menu.
Since my initial baptism I have become a full fledge follower of the Taylor cult. I have introduced friends and family, shared meals and ordered out so many times that it is difficult to count the total number of times that I have visited. If you are a virgin to Taylor I must advise you that like any religion there are a set of rules that we consider dogma. First and most importantly No Mayonnaise or Mustard, no sandwich of theirs should be covered even slightly with these condiments. I was a bit weary of this at first but easily accepted it once I joined the commune. You will also only be served with fresh bread that is made daily and not stored in a freezer for days on end. Lastly you will be served Boylan soda which is made by natural ingredients, no artificial preservatives or flavors.During my experiences I have formed a bond with these sandwiches. Whenever I visit my order is based on a variety of factors including my mood, the time or day and even the weather. I have yet to sample the entire menu which consists of 39 different sandwiches but am close to half way through. One of my favorites is the Lombard Avenue which can be seen below. This sandwich consists of sopressata, geona salami, roasted red peppers, pesto and fresh mozzarella.
The flavor profile in this sandwich is flawless; each ingredient plays off on the other and no ingredient overpowers the dish. I am also a big fan of their Philadelphia Landfill which comes with roasted turkey, ham, geona salami, roasted red peppers and sharp provolone cheese. It is similar in taste to the Lombard but a bit more sophisticated.Every time I visit H St. for a night on the town my last stop is always Taylor to quench my drunken munchies. In my state of inebriation I always feel a bit guilty because I am not able to fully appreciate the complexity of this sandwich but I still find it necessary.
The meatballs are spicy and scrumptious; the marinara also packs a bit of heat since they are simmered together and the provolone tames it down a bit. The mere simplicity of the sub makes it spectacular and an all time favorite of mine.
All in all Taylor gourmet is fantastic, its quick growth in popularity has pushed it to open shop in Bethesda and soon to U St. which will be my ultimate demise. Their ingredients are always fresh and I have yet to have a sandwich that I disliked. I will have to say that this greatness comes at a price in the form of cost and lines. Both are not grueling but they may cause a slight inconvenience at times depending on your threshold. Definitely a must try for anyone who shares my enthusiasm for good sandwiches.